A Mr. Men / Little Miss Craft for Kids with Character
You know how you see your kids and their traits, but do you know what they think of themselves? Inspired by the Mr. Men/Little Miss series, this craft lets you create a book about your child, by your child. Not only is it a great exercise in self-reflection, it’s also a fun way to learn about character development and storytelling.
You may be surprised with what you hear! Your young athlete might find that his artistic qualities are what define him the most. Your daughter may be your
"little princess", but in her world, she's Kublai Khan.
Read Together First
Mr. Men was created in the 70's by British author and illustrator Roger Hargreaves when his son asked him what a tickle looked like. He drew a bright orange creature with extraordinarily long arms, known today as Mr. Tickle.
The Mr. Men stories revolve around colorful characters with distinct personalities going about their daily lives. Some are positive, some negative, and others are just outright comical. But there’s no judgment here – it's about accepting and celebrating diversity!
We have Mr. Greedy, the gluttonous pink blob who eats a giant's meal without permission and suffers the consequences. There's Mr. Quiet who is so timid and lives in Loudland, where he just doesn’t fit in. Mr. Mischief loves to play cruel tricks on everybody, until he messes with the wrong wizard. Then there's Mr. Nonsense and his best friend, Mr. Silly, and all their crazy antics (Porridge on toast! Square snowballs! Tobogganing with a bed!)
Check out the Mr. Men Complete Collection, which comes with 47 small and light paperback books. The stories are short and hilarious (I like to read them with a British accent...), and the illustrations are simple and delightful. There's even a set of Little Miss books for the ladies! These book sets make awesome presents and are a great way to kick start your little one's library.
Jump into Character Development
So... Let's start by picking a name! Ask your kid what word(s) they think describes them best. They might say choose something like Little Miss Adventurous, Mr. Genius, or Little Miss Feminist. Perhaps they prefer to build out a persona, like Mr. Space Cowboy, Little Miss Rockstar Ballerina, or Mr. Soulful Rapper... Or they could just stick with their own name, because we're not one-dimensional and Little Miss Rockstar Ballerina probably won't fit on the cover.
Once your child has decided on the perfect name, it's time to start drawing!
Features That Tell All
Take a cue from the simple, geometric shapes of the Mr. Men characters... A lot of them are just round/rectangular/blobs with arms and legs. Ask your kids what shape and color best embodies their character’s attributes, and work from there. (Rocket-shaped for Mr. Space Cowboy, lightbulb-shaped Mr. Genius... Conch-shaped Little Miss Feminist?)
Have them think about facial features too. How might the eyes look on Little Miss Daring? Should Mr. Stinky have an enormous smile full of pride, or pucker up his face in reaction to his own smell? Add in accessories for greater detail: Mr. Pilot could have aviator goggles and a helmet. Little Miss Candy Lover can have a lollipop stuck on her hair. Have lots of fun with it!
Getting into the Plot
Mr. Men books are about 18 pages long, with alternating text and illustrations. You and your child can create the story any way you want, but you could also follow the typical Mr. Men story layout:
- First, introduce and describe your characters. Describe the town that they live in, and illustrate their home.
- Next, talk about your character's silly quirks and hobbies. Narrate their usual morning routine and breakfast. Have them set out for the day, until they happen upon a life-altering incident. (Talk about two important aspects of good storytelling: conflict and resolution. What is the character’s challenge and how do they overcome it?)
- End things with a moral to the story.
Make an outline for your story, breaking it down into 18 pages, and plan out the illustrations.
Crafting the Book
What you'll need:
- 5 sheets of 8.5 X 11 cardstock
- A pair of scissors
- A black marker
- Colored pencils
- A stapler
Fold the sheets of paper lengthwise, and cut. Stack everything together, fold in half, and staple twice in the middle. You should now have something that resembles the small paperback Mr. Men books. Write out the character's name on the front with a thick, black marker and draw their portrait underneath. Then lay out the story and drawings, following your outline.
Take It Further
Finished making the book? Organize a “Meet the Author” session with a read aloud. Encourage your kiddo to show off those storytelling skills –get into character, and do lots of voice acting! At the end of the story, have a Q&A and ask the author to talk more about the character, and discuss your favorite parts of the book.
If one book isn't enough, create more! Maybe they'd like to touch on their other personalities (Split, anyone?) and create books for those. Maybe they’d like to create a book for each family member or friend. Try to make one of these books every year as your child's traits and interests change.
Working out Emotions
If your kids have a great deal of ups and downs in a week, or they’re just a bit more sensitive in nature, this craft is a great way for them to work through emotions as well. Your little ones can create books to help express events that upset them, ones that make them feel great joy, or even get them furious.
By working through a conflict within the storyline and helping the fictional characters reach a resolution, your children will be learning how to better understand and manage their own feelings.
What are some of your favorite book-making crafts?Tags : arts and crafts language arts